The Board of Directors has the responsibility of periodically reviewing the Articles of Incorporation of the Cooperative to determine if any modifications are in order. At the February 15, 2018 Board meeting, the Board identified an area where it felt the Articles should be modified. The Cooperative Members will be asked to cast a ballot, either by mail or at the annual meeting scheduled for August 7, 2018, for the proposed amendment to the Articles of Incorporation. Ballots will be mailed to all members with the Official Notice of the Annual Meeting.
One of the amendments would add a new Article setting forth dispute resolution provisions. This will apply to disputes between the Cooperative and a member, former member, or customer who has received electric service from the Cooperative. The text would direct the parties to attempt to resolve the dispute in good faith. In the event the matter is unable to be resolved by the parties, the applicable regulatory body would then handle those disputes over which it has jurisdiction (such as the Iowa Utilities Board). If no regulatory body has jurisdiction over the matter, then the text of the proposed Article sets forth a procedure for mediation of the dispute. If mediation is not successful, then arbitration is available to the parties. The dispute resolution provisions would not be applicable to the Cooperative’s collection of past due accounts or to matters where the amount in dispute could be handled in small claims court.
The Board certainly does not anticipate any disputes with the membership, however, the Board deems it to be in the best interest of the Cooperative and the members to establish a process for resolving disputes that is efficient, fair, and cost-effective in the event a dispute should arise. Many of the contracts to which the Cooperative is a party include dispute resolution provisions and this Amendment would provide such a process for dealings between the Cooperative and its members.
In addition to that proposal, the Board has proposed to amend the Articles to clarify who is eligible for joint memberships and open the door for the potential use of alternative voting methods.
The amendments related to joint membership clarify that spouses are eligible to hold a joint membership. The amendment related to the voting methods allows the Board the ability to utilize electronic voting as an option. Today, members may vote in person at the member meeting or by mail. It is contemplated that those methods will remain; but the Board would also like to add an electronic voting method once the technology and security issues associated with electronic voting can be addressed. The use of electronic voting will not be required if the amendment is adopted; but it would be an option available to the Board to explore. As technology advances, we are seeing other cooperatives utilize this form of voting in order to increase member participation and ensure the Cooperative continues to be democratically controlled.
You are encouraged to vote in favor of the proposed amendments to the Articles of Incorporation. Should you have any questions regarding the proposed Amendment, please do not hesitate to call or stop by the office. The full text of the proposed Amendment can be obtained from the office and will also be mailed to members with the ballot.